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Analytical Sociology and Computational Social Science

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EBDW03 - Integrating quantitative social, ecological and mathematical sciences into landscape decision-making

Analytical sociology focuses on social interactions among individuals and the hard-to-predict aggregate outcomes they bring about. It seeks to identify generalizable mechanisms giving rise to emergent properties of social systems which, in turn, feed back on individual decision-making. This research program benefits from computational tools such as agent-based simulations, natural language processing, and large-scale web experiments, and has considerable overlap with the nascent field of computational social science. By providing relevant analytical tools to rigorously address sociology’s core questions, computational social science has the potential to considerably advance sociology. The disciplinary relationship, however, is not a one-way street, and this talk outlines how analytical sociology, with its theory-grounded approach to computational social science, can help to move the field forward from mere descriptions and predictions to the explanation of social phenomena.




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